PRESENTATION of the LORD – Saturday Feb. 2, 2019
[Mal 3:1-4 ; Lk 2:22-35]
Today, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we commemorate the first recognition of the new-born Child as the fulfillment of all Israel’s hope. Simeon and Anna, two aged ascetics, have dedicated themselves a lifelong to prayer, purity of heart and truthfulness. Just like Elijah the Prophet and John the Baptist we may consider them precursors of our monastic lives. Their purified sense perception enables them to become the first ones to contemplate the Light of the World present in the Child.
This Feast is also called ‘Candlemass’, as its liturgy is full of candle light also being carried in procession. In later periods this light procession was associated with the worship of the Holy Virgin, Mother of God, on the occasion of her ritual purification after having given birth to her Child. So, traditionally, the Feast of today is also referred to as the ‘Purification of Mary’.
However, what we are actually celebrating is the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple forty days after his birth. The candle light symbolizes God’s Light shining in the darkness of human history, through the Incarnation of His Son (Jn 1:5). That is the core of what we have been celebrating at Christmas. The candle procession expresses our going up, all together, to the House of the Lord, and the ongoing invitation to open up the eyes of our hearts to the divine Light shining in our world through Christ.
May our monastic lives help us to become ever more sensitive to this Light, like our forerunners Simeon and Annadid through their lives dedicated to prayer and purified authentic love.
Fr . Daniel Hombergen, OCSO